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Old 01-30-2007, 12:57 PM   #34
Mike Doolittle
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Re: The Root of all Evil/Trobule With Atheism

Originally Posted by Nicato View Post
I insist on material proof for your god hypothesis, as it is a claim about the universe.
It's a theological claim, not a scientific hypothesis.

The tenants and circumstances of altruism are fundamentally different from your god hypothesis because one is of consequence to the entire universe and the other only matters to one particular species on a relatively insignificant pale blue dot (as far as we know). So I don't follow your analogy.
I was trying to illustrate that spiritual concepts that are not directly linked to our survival and evolution have the ability to be intuitively known, and the consequences of those known things are observable.

Not necessarily. Like I've said before, the laws of time, physics, and gravity only exists (as we know them; as far as we know) inside our universe. Whatever is the cause of the universe does not necessarily have to "transcend" those laws because it is possible that those laws did not exist. Or in otherwords, what exactly is it transcending at that point?
Transcend, as not being subjected to. If rationality is governed by the laws of our universe, how could scientists test the tenability of elements that are outside of our universe – be it God or the multiverse of String Theory? (I find that especially interesting since String Theory has been around for nearly 50 years, and has yet to produce falsifiable claims).

I don't necessarily think that we will never find any positive evidence for any gods, only that your "creative god" lacks any such evidence.
That's true, and I don't know anyone who would tell you otherwise who isn't a fundamentalist nut.

Or, in otherwords, because they feel good.
Possibly, but that's a drastic oversimplification. We can see the tenability in patterns of behavior that encourage a deeper sense of bonding and fellowship than other types of behavior. We see that it fulfills needs we may not be immediately attuned with, but give us a profoundly deeper sense of fulfillment than trying to fulfill other needs.

I still think you're speaking more about "doctrine", in which case there is no way to test the various doctrinal claims of various religions. But I think the fact that religion and spirituality are ubiquitous in human history speaks that people recognize that certain needs are not fulfilled by the selfish and material. And I think the personification of God through mythology is simply an expressive tool that helps people discuss their spiritual intuition.

Which means that theological claims are intellectually no different than getting high on drugs--which is all well and good, don't get me wrong, but it doesn't change the fact that theologians are making objective claims about the universe, therefore the "tests" for their objective claims should be on par with that of science.
Maybe some theologians are. If they do, then yes, they should. But most theologians aren't

Neither can theism or philosophy. I mean, then can (hell, they do), but there is no unified process to filter the right theological/philosophical claims about what is "right" or "wrong" from the wrong theological/philosophical claims about what is "right" or "wrong."
Well sure, that's because there are both selfish and unselfish human needs, and both material and immaterial human needs. These needs often conflict with each other, and their exact nature varies across culture. Religion need not be an easy answer for all questions of morality, but a guide.

This is because "right" and "wrong" (like your "creative god") are arbitrary concepts which evolved only because it served our species--a meme as selfish as any gene.
Definitions of right and wrong do serve a need, but morality often directly conflicts with our selfish needs. But morality often serves a greater need that transcends our selfish desires. And even in cases that we are serving our greater good through morality, it often isn't through means that can be directly observed or understood. That is, we may have certain instincts that drive us toward selfishness and the passing on of genes, but we also have something that drives us toward cooperation, empathy and even altruism – things that only indirectly contribute to our survival and continued evolution.

Also, I appreciate the flattery, but I'm pretty sure I didn't invent the concept of the creative God. :P

I think you misunderstand the word "limits" when describing science. It is not the case that wherever science stops, an equally refined process takes over. Quite the contrary in fact. Science only stops at unfalsifiable claims and certain issues which apply to one species (as far as we know) one planet.
You're simply unable to reconcile your steadfastly materialistic worldview with a spiritual perspective. I don't know how much farther we can take the discussion, because you don't believe anything can be intuitively known or understood. You insist that unless immaterial spirituality meets your criteria of material tangibility, it should be discarded. That's simply not what spirituality is.

And I think that, like Dawkins, most of your angst is directed at the surge in religious fundamentalism over the last decade, which often postures moral arguments as facts and resists scientific progress. I appreciate Dawkins and others of his ilk in that respect, but the actions and affirmations of fundamentalists shouldn't be broadly applied to all believers.

P.S. – You should watch the movie Contact, which is a great allegory on faith and skepticism.

P.P.S. – You mention Dawkins' "meme" quite a bit. I personally think the entire concept of a meme is a major misfire by Dawkins. I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on criticisms of the meme.
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Last edited by Mike Doolittle; 01-30-2007 at 01:06 PM.
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